Today marks the birthday of actor, screenwriter and director Tod Browning.
We have Browning to thank for the classic and the most well known version of Dracula starring Bela Lugosi, as well as cult favourite and deeply disturbing Freaks (I still can’t shake scenes from that film years later, and the memory of it gives me shivers yet!)
The early life of Tod Browning is fascinating. Particularly how as a teenager he ran away from home to become a performer – traveling and working a variety of jobs in circuses, sideshows and carnivals. The biography Dark Carnival: The Secret World of Tod Browning is an interesting insight into the life of the man whose films are so well known in the horror genre.
Of his silent work, London After Midnight starring Lon Chaney, is one of the most highly sought after lost silent films. According to the AFI “the only known surviving print of London After Midnight was destroyed in a fire in the mid-1960s”, and now sadly is seemingly lost forever. I still hope that it’ll turn up, unearthed in some attic or found at an estate sale one of these days, what a treasure that would be to find!
Artwork: Basil Gogos